A wise woman once said, “Money is the Death of Joy”– that woman was me. Saving money used to be a thought that popped into my head infrequently and was quickly brushed aside. Then I moved in with my (then) boyfriend, and he saw all of the boxes that came for me each week from Amazon and Etsy. When we got married he started seeing our bank statements and how many coffee pit stops I needed to take each day.

Marriage is like looking into a giant mirror and having to make eye contact with your spending choices. I have compiled a list of ways to make saving money more bearable. In reality I am terrible at saving money, mainly because I live right across from a TJMaxx. However, my real strength is giving out money saving advice to couples. Those that can’t do teach, am I right? Here are some creative ways to save money in your marriage.

1. Have People Over Instead of Going Out

Save Money in Your Marriage

If you can’t afford to go out and have fun, nobody can.

This may seem like a bad idea, but most double dates are torture anyway. You might as well save a little money along the way. For the price of the parking ticket you’re bound to get for even dreaming of leaving the house, you could have a night full of whiskey drinks and board games. The whiskey will make losing at Settlers of Catan (because you weren’t on any sheep tiles for the 100th time) a lot more bearable.  

2. Make a Blanket Fort

Save Money in Your Marriage

I shouldn’t have to convince anyone to make a blanket fort, but for arguments sake, I’ll present my case.

It sounds easy to stay in together more often, but even Netflix has only so many nature documentaries that you can watch. The key is to make your house more appealing. And no, I’m not suggesting you should buy more decorative pillows. Unless, of course, those pillows are for your brand new blanket fort! Nothing makes a night (or week) in more fun than a blanket fort. The two of you get to be young again! Except this is better than being young because wine is allowed in this fort. And y’know, other sexy stuff.

3. Stop Buying Shit You Don’t Need

Save Money in Your Marriage

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It’s at the front of the store, and it’s only $3? Awesome! Put it down. Put it down and run.

This is the kryptonite of every great money saving superhero couple out there. There will always be ridiculously amazing things you two don’t need. You have to be stronger than you’ve ever been and stop buying shit you don’t need. Stop getting promotional emails with discount codes, stop saving your credit card info on your favorite online shops, and start blindfolding each other at Target. Keep a list of what you’re shopping for, and stick to it. If you don’t, you’re going to attempt to buy new pens and end up with a sleeping bag that looks like bear. Believe me.

4. Make It a Competition

Save Money in Your Marriage

What’s healthier than a little competition in a marriage?

At the beginning of each week, put $50 (or $100 if you’re fancy) in both of your wallets. Write out the rules of what you don’t have to use the money for. A few examples would be: prescriptions, bills, gas, store bought food — anything you two deem as needs — these can all go on your cards. Anything else you want over the week has to be from the cash. By Friday, whoever has the most cash leftover wins. The leftover cash can either be saved or used towards something fun you both can do, winner’s choice! Adding a competitive/game edge makes saving money and being frugal during the workweek way more fun. Plus, who doesn’t love a little midweek competitive trash talk with their spouse?

You have these tools now, go out there and save! Save like your credit card debt depends on it.

Claire Linic is a Chicago based author and comedian. Her upcoming book Our Perfect Marriage, which she bravely wrote with her husband, will be released October, 4th. Follow Claire on Twitter or her blog.